Pacing Myself with Three Goals

When my Hypothyroidism was at its worst, I found myself cycling from exhaustion to energy and back to exhaustion. During the times I was too tired to move I would create lists of all the things that needed to get done. As soon as I had the energy to complete a task, I would shift into high gear and push myself to get everything done. Inevitably I would collapse from exhaustion at some point before the never-ending list was complete.

Now that my thyroid is a bit more stable, and our boys are more independent, I’ve realized the habit I developed out of survival is no longer necessary. Still, habits are hard to break, even when they can be harmful to one’s health.

The History of Three Goals

One of the Facebook groups I’m lucky to be a part of is hosted by Alli Worthington. Alli is the author of Breaking Busy, a book that I discovered at the perfect time for me. Since the book launch, our group has continued to interact with weekly check-ins. On Mondays, we set three goals, and on Fridays, we report our progress.

Why Three Goals?

Well, we live busy lives, and the practice of setting goals is to accomplish them. Three is a manageable number (most weeks). It’s also an amount that takes some effort. One goal can be forgotten until the last minute or accomplished quickly. Five goals would be impossible most weeks because life gets in the way of, well, life more times than not.

What Do My Three Goal Weeks Look Like

Consistency is Key

Most weeks at least one of my three goals repeats, but that is because I do a lot of the same things each week. At least once a month my goals focus on a particular project of sorts. Sometimes my goals sound more like ideas or dreams than tasks that can actually be accomplished in a week. Regardless consistency is key.

Consistency:

  • I show up every Monday and Friday
  • I type out my goals instead of just keeping them in mind
  • I aim for S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  • I check in as the week goes on to stay focused on the three things I prioritized for the week.

Sometimes I Fail

Some weeks my goals have to be set aside. Life gets in the way, I find myself exhausted, or my goals were too ambitious for the week. Over the summer it became clear that two goals would be my maximum if I expected to have any chance of success at all. The important thing is to remember Monday will come around again soon.

Why This Works

It can be easy to get to the end of a week and feel as if nothing has been accomplished. Especially when the weeks look so similar. Having three small wins each week is motivating for repeat success.

Healthwise, knowing that I only have three goals to accomplish allow me to pace myself. I don’t need to push myself to exhaustion.

That Oil Post

Essential oils have become a more pobottlepular in the past year, at least in my circles. I’ve seen diffusers pop up at grocery stores as well as essential oils sold by multiple direct sales companies. They also are finding places on store shelves.

This post is not about the differences in companies or why one brand is better than another.

Our family uses essential oils in multiple ways each day. Our journey began when I discovered through a blood test that almost five years after having HELLPS syndrome my liver was still not completely healthy. My sister-in-law suggested instead of lemon water I try lemon oil because it would allow for a concentrated “dose” of lemon. With one drop being equivalent to 20 lemons I was feeling pretty good about this suggestion. Within weeks my new blood tests revealed my liver was again healthy. Our next experience was a flu avoiding panic brought by Thieves (or On Guard as some of you know it by). When Ordell had the flu and the rest of us stayed healthy I was sold.

My coach’s wife friend Lindsy has been a doTerra rep for about 9 months now and since she has been able to find a balance between her work as a labor and delivery nurse and her desire to help people through oil support I’ve also settled my own nerves on the subject with a clear and specific line.

I do not ever use essential oils as a substitution for doctor prescribed medicine. Those of you who have followed along with my thyroid journey, know I’m passionate about seeking the help of an expert when it comes to thyroid health.

That being said, we have found a place for essential oils in our home as part of our daily routine in multiple ways. We’ve also found space for them in weekly and rare uses.

Daily

  • On Guard: immunity support, taken internally with droplets, diffused at night, applied topically
  • Cinnamon: blood sugar regulation, add a drop to water or protein shake
  • Peppermint: energy increase, add a drop to water, taken internally with droplets
  • Purify: diffused in main living area (kitchen/living room open floor) to eliminate odors and promote fresh smell
  • Serenity: diffused at night to help Ordell and I sleep, in a roller to apply at night when traveling
  • Lavender: help the boys sleep diffused at night, eczema reducer
  • Frankincense: one drop in face lotion applied at night, softer skin, anti-wrinkle, combined with coconut oil and shea butter as well as lavender for eczema reduction
  • Lemon or Lime: drop in drinking water, helps with digestion, liver support
  • Balance: in a roller or diffused, helps emotional support
  • Melaleuca: ache prevention, evens out skin color, applied in roller or for me with my face lotion in the evening
  • Cedarwood: I’ve added this to my shampoo with lavender and mascara to help thicken and lengthen my hair

Weekly or More

  • Wild Orange: emotional support, promotes cheerfulness
  • Deep Blue: most used in our house, muscle soreness support.
  • Aroma Touch: droplets into bath helps reduce muscle soreness
  • Lemon: for cleaning
  • Peppermint: in a spray keeps the ants away, gets rid of headaches when rubbed on temples (I combine with lavender for this)
  • Clary Sage: cramps and emotional imbalances from monthly cycle removed
  • Juniper Berry: love the smell, I use this in cleaning with lemon
  • Oregano: used with cleaning in spray bottle with lemon and juniper berry
  • Terra Shield: 20 drops of oil to 4 oz of water makes an amazing bug spray! This can also be diffused for the protection of a larger area.

Thyroid Support

  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Clove
  • Lemongrass
  • Basil
  • Marjoram

Combined in a roller, I began by applying this first on the bottoms of my feet and now once a day rolled on my neck. I find that this gives me a slight boost of energy.

Cleaning

I’ve switched over almost all of our cleaning supplies to include essential oils. Glass spray bottles from Amazon have made this an easy transition.

  • Peppermint- one drop of oil to one drop of water in a spray bottle keeps ants away from floors and counters.
  • Melaleuca and Eucalyptus combine to keep our showers mold free
  • Lemon, Melaleuca, and OnGuard combine to create an all purpose cleaning spray
  • Lemon and Melaleuca are a powerful combination in cleaning an oven as well! Add these to water, baking soda and Dawn dish soap for a cleaner that wipes grime away.

Cooking

Essential oils can be used in cooking as long as they are from a reputable company. Personally, the only ones I would consider using are doTerra or YoungLiving.

I’ve served lemon with tea instead of lemon juice. I’ve also used ginger and lemon when I a stomach ache.

Lemon bars, lemon poppyseed muffins, cinnamon in baked goods all options.

Peppermint in brownies is tasty.

Basil, oregano, thyme- making an Italian dish? Consider these.

Cilantro is a popular one with a friend who adds it to salsa.

When it comes to figuring out which oils to use and which applications are best I take several steps. The first is to ask Lindsy what her thoughts and suggestions are. She has a private Facebook group which is always a helpful source as well.

Then I resource the big oils book. Oil Life is an independent company to resources essential oil distributors and educators. They have compiled an extensive book with hundreds of sites sources on essential oils. This was a gift to me from Lindsy and both Ordell and I review something in it at least once a week.

Essential oils all have specific uses and need to be used in the specific ways they have been deemed safe. By the way, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the oils we use. Just my consistent go to’s.

What are your favorites?

Three Years Ago A Thyroid Health Update

Three years ago as the calendar turned to November, an inventory of my appearance revealed multiple signs my thyroid had slipped further out of range than ever before. My hair was falling out, my fingernails were so brittle they cracked deep into the nail bed, and I had gained a significant amount of weight. Further signs included the fact that massive amounts of caffeine did nothing to shake the exhaustion that drove me to nap every afternoon.

By the time I arrived at my endocrinologist’s office in January I was so desperate for help I would have taken any pill he handed me. Thankfully, I was in the right place because not only was I given new pills, they were the right pills to best support my thyroid.

This November my journey to sustained quality health has hit a milestone. My endocrinologist has declared my thyroid “in range” meaning that my medicine has balanced things and is supporting my thyroid to produce the correct hormones. After over 80 lbs lost, and 19 dosage adjustments my body has stabilized.

This does not mean I’m cured. It only means I am on the right medicine. When I feel tired, it’s because I need to sleep, not because my thyroid function is not balanced. When I gain a few pounds, it’s because I overindulged and now need to get back on track with diet and exercise.

I’m still sensitive to cold, and I still need to pace myself allowing my body and mind to rest after busy days. I do best when I don’t consume gluten or dairy. I fight to lose weight as my body holds on to it.

The past three years have flown by in many ways, but what stands out to me the most is how much I remember. Clarity of mind is included in my new quality of life. I cannot express strongly enough how vital it is that your thyroid health is treated by a specialist. Even if it’s a once a year confirmation of information and treatment from your general practitioner, it has been my experience that a vital aspect of sustained health includes considering the opinions of specialists.

Had I known the what feeling well would be like I wouldn’t have waited as long as I did to get the help I needed. The next time my thyroid needs a medicine adjustment I’ll speak up immediately and get back to living life.

22 Month Thyroid Update

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I’ve given enough information about my Thyroid that as we wrap up 2015 I felt a summary of my journey to fuller health was important.  Since getting my A1C lower this is my first picture.

If I’m being completely honest I have to say that I don’t really recognize either of these pictures as me.  My weight gain came on so quickly with the last 15 or so pounds that there are very few pictures of my like this, although there are plenty 15-20 pounds lighter than this as I fluctuated for about 10 years.  It’s hard to remember to pick up the M instead of the XL and it still surprises me every time something fits.

My hair is still limper than I would like, although it is no longer falling out in clumps.  Biotin has been a great help with my hair and nails, although my nails are still brittle at times too.

My energy level is a little lower than months 6-15. Although part of that is likely stress related, my schedule has increased so I am more active AND I think it’s also reasonable to say that my body has adjusted slightly to the medicine range and “settled into a new normal”

Exercise has become a must, usually an hour is spent between cardio, weights, abs and stretching.  On days I have a full schedule I’ll just do cardio or even skip, although those days are rare.

Reaction changes have been interesting.  I had several months of extremely heavy periods with large clots (sorry if that’s TMI).  Surgery was even suggested by my OB/GYN.  I am thankful I delayed surgery though.  Things have evened out and it my doctors seem to agree that this was an example of compensation.  Certain body systems were used to having to work harder than they do now and needed time to slow down.

Food Sensitivities have increased.  Dairy has always been an issue for me (thank God for cashew milk and ice cream!) but it seems now that gluten is also a thing to be cautious with.  There are studies with links between thyroid and gluten.  I think the timing on this mostly has to do with my dietary changes eliminating gluten.  It has become easier for me to distinguish when I have stomach aches instead of just feeling achy all the time.

Daily Pill intake. This one has been the most interesting to me.  I always took a multivitamin, but at the insistence of my Endocrinologist have switched to Alive Vitamins.  After about 9 months of consistently taking these I am no longer vitamin deficient as I had been for at least 8 years.  At my Endocrinologist’s insistence my daily intake is: magnesium, Alive multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B6, Biotin, flaxseed oil, and time release melatonin when needed (maybe 3 times a month).  Yes, this is a lot of pills.  Yes I think they are helping me.  I can tell when I’ve gone a few days without something.

Naps still occur occasionally.  If I have to many busy days in a row it’s inevitable I’ll need a day to recuperate. I believe that is something that isn’t going to go away.  Learning how to balance my calendar is still a work in progress.

Hypothyroidism…blood test results

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Earlier this month I had a semi routine blood drawn done.  I hadn’t been feeling great and my doctor decided to check to see if my thyroid was balanced.  I think we were both to get the results.  My thyroid was balanced (and I’ve been feeling fine so it must of just been some exhaustion to fight) and for the first time since February 2014 at least my A1C was completely in the NORMAL RANGE!!

I did not have my A1C checked prior to 2014, although while pregnant in 2006 it was fine.  Sometime between 2006 and 2014 my A1C bumped into the insulin resistant/pre-diabetic range.  I have a sweet tooth and I’ve tried to avoid artificial sweeteners because there really isn’t much positive to read about them.  As I’ve tried to curb the sweets reserving treats for celebrations and certain times of the month I’ve seen the weight drop and my cravings drop, but the numbers remained the same.

I can only explain my new found blood ranges as a result of prayer, sticking with eating less sweets and a lot of exercise.  My doctor even seemed surprised.

The results of this latest blood draw has given me a new perspective.

  1. For the first time in a very very long time I have stopped waiting for quality of life to become even more compromised and instead have become even more focused on keeping my A1C in range.  Less and less sugar, increased workouts including heavier weights.
  2. I’ve begun thinking about the future more.  What will life be like in 10 or more years?  I’m no longer assuming needles, insulin and full blown diabetes is a given for me.

If you are also fighting hypothyroidism I CAN.NOT stress enough how vital quality health care is to your sustained health.

Further reading: The two BIG Problems with typical thyroid treatment Part 1 and Part 2